PUPILS in P4-P7 have returned to school for the first time since December.

Children in P1-P3 went back to the classroom three weeks ago (February 22) in line with the Scottish Government’s phased return of pupils as the country moves out of lockdown.

But now older primary-age pupils have gone back too.

Julie Ritchie’s daughter Lucy Gibb (aged nine) was among the pupils who returned to St Margaret’s Primary School in Galashiels on Monday.

“She’s felt very safe at being back and enjoyed seeing all her friends again,” said Julie. “She’s enjoying getting back into a routine again.”

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Also returning to St Margaret’s this week was 12-year-old Nathan Young. His younger brother Calum, aged five, went back last month.

Meanwhile, their older brother, 15-year-old Aaron, has also returned to Galashiels Academy.

And Denise Smart is mum to Rylan (10), Lexi-mae (9), and Millie (7).

Ms Smart said her children, who all attend Peebles’ Kingsland Primary School, were glad to be back in the classroom.

She added: “They were all a bit nervous about going but once they were at school they were all happy to be back seeing their friends.

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“It [home-schooling] was tricky at times as they are at different ages.

“So I had to plan each day well so that they were all occupied doing work while I was helping each of them one-to-one. Once we got into a routine it went well.”

Also returning to the classroom this week was Halyrude Primary School pupil James Kane.

The eight-year-old’s mum, Louise Kane, told the Peeblesshire News: “James had a great first day back at school.

“He is delighted to be back, especially to see his friends and teacher.

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“Home-schooling certainly had its challenges but we were fortunate that James’ teacher Mrs Pearson gave two live classes per day which was a massive help in home learning.”

From this week, all high school pupils started receiving some in-school teaching again.

Before the current wave of school returns began, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The phased approach to school return is firmly based on the expert advice that we have received.

“It is the best and also the most sustainable and enduring way to get as many children back to school as possible, as safely as possible.”

Before February, only vulnerable children and the children of key workers returned to the classroom.